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Todd Terry

international news _ 15th June, 2006

Todd Terry's Gangbanger Starting Block

Text by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

US house legend Todd Terry chatted to Skrufff this week about his teenage years growing up amidst Brooklyn's notoriously violent street gang culture of the 80s and admitted that he only narrowly escaped being sucked into gang life lock, stock and barrel.

"In everybody's life I think you receive a wake-up call and I received one, maybe 22 years ago, an incident which forced me ask myself 'Do you want to live or do you want to die?" said Todd. "That's what happens. And how you respond to that wake-up call determines how you lead your life."

The hugely influential New York house star, who recently agreed a summer residency for Milk 'N'2 Sugar's new Ibiza parties at El Divino, said his childhood was dominated by the gangs he grew up around in Brooklyn, which saw him obsessed with defending his local gang's turf.

"My big dream when I was growing up was to own my block, that's how we were brought up. I'd think I'm just going to rep (represent) my block and nobody better come up on my block or they're gonna' get shot. That was the mentality of how we were growing up," he admitted.

"We were going to deal drugs and gang bang, but only on our block, and we were going to run this block and the whole world would know of our block and not mess with us. That was the mentality, silly as it may be. It was a power thing. We'd control our streets and the cops wouldn't do anything to us because we knew what we were doing. That was the mentality, but of course, it doesn't work, though you don't find that out until you get a wakeup call," he mused.

Todd said his childhood experiences mean he's still respected when driving through neighbourhoods like Coney Island and Bay Ridge ('they know what I've been through and they were happy to see one of their people make it') and added he has no regrets about choosing music.

"The new path I chose was not to be involved with those so-called people because those so-called people were not about to go anywhere; guns, drugs and whatever else they could get their hands on, doesn't turn into anything," he said.

"You can only make so much money drug dealing, even if it's $20million you still can't have it because you're not going to make it all the way through. I don't know any drug dealer or gang leader that's lived it all the way through without getting caught or in trouble. The odds on that type of lifestyle are about a half out of ten. Whether it's the mob (mafia), drugs, prostitution, whatever it is, I've never seen that person make it through, so I went with the odds that I'd seen people in the music biz make it through, so this was what I should get into."

Todd spins at the opening night of Milk 'N' 2 Sugar's new weekly Sunday parties at El Divino, kicking off on June 25 alongside Cassius and CJ Mackintosh),

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